About Nonviolent Communication and the Center for Nonviolent Communication

What NVC Is

NVC, also known as Compassionate Communication, is a powerful process for inspiring compassionate connection and action. It provides a framework and set of skills to address all of these problems, from the most intimate relationships to global political conflicts. NVC can help prevent conflicts as well as peacefully resolve them. For many years the Center for Nonviolent Communication had been quietly contributing to a vast social transformation in thinking, speaking and acting, showing people how to connect with the life in themselves and others in ways that inspire a compassionate response. NVC helps us to focus on the feelings and needs we all have, instead of thinking and speaking in terms of dehumanizing labels or other habitual patterns of communication which are easily heard as demanding and antagonistic and which contribute to violence towards ourselves, others and the world around us. NVC empowers people who are in conflict to engage in a creative dialogue in order to construct their own fully satisfactory solutions.

So, for example, all children in several Israeli schools have received basic instruction in NVC and some have been given extra training to become NVC mediators. Two children fighting on the school yard ask for a mediator who helps each in turn to complete a four step process to identify what happened, what feelings the child is experiencing, what values the child wishes their relationship to serve, and what each child wants of the other. In less than 10 minutes the two shake hands, their friendship restored.

A teacher in an inner city school in St. Louis used her NVC skills to prevent herself from being raped by a stranger who had entered her classroom when she stayed after hours to help a student.

Through training in NVC, a Swedish prisoner, who in an angry frenzy had killed his best friend, came to see a way of expressing his anger nonviolently and then helped to organize additional workshops for healing, educating, and transforming others who had committed murder.

A member of the cabinet of the French government used NVC skills in negotiations with Algiers.

During the Intifada in Israel, complaints of police brutality against a unit of Israeli police decreased markedly following their training in NVC; receiving empathy for their own pain enabled them to respond more calmly when faced with provocation.

Where NVC Came From-The NVC model was developed and refined over a period of thirty-five years by Marshall B. Rosenberg. Growing up Jewish in a turbulent and anti-Semitic Detroit neighborhood, Dr. Rosenberg developed a keen interest in conflict resolution and new forms of communication that would provide peaceful alternatives to the violence he encountered. His interest eventually led to graduate school, where he earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. But he was dissatisfied with the focus he saw there on pathology, which did not help him understand the very compassionate people he had also known. Further study of comparative religion, and his own varied life experience, convinced him that human beings are not inherently violent, and motivated him to develop NVC. He first used NVC in federally funded projects to provide mediation and communication skills training to communities working to peacefully integrate schools and other public institutions during the 1960's. His work on these projects brought Dr. Rosenberg into contact with people in various U.S. cities who wanted to bring his training to a broad base of people in their communities. To meet this need and to more effectively spread the process of NVC, in 1984 he founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) and, in 1999, published his book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion (Puddle Dancer Press).

In the course of developing NVC training, Marshall Rosenberg discovered that using hand puppets, typically a giraffe and a jackal, helps to illustrate different ways of communicating. The giraffe, because of its large heart, gentleness, and ability to see far and stick its neck out, has now become a popular metaphor for speaking from the heart, and in many places NVC is affectionately referred to as "Giraffe Language."

Training in NVC is now offered throughout the world by Dr. Rosenberg and a team of more than 100 certified trainers, and is supported by hundreds of committed volunteers who help organize workshops, participate in practice groups, and coordinate team building. The training is helping prevent and resolve conflicts in schools, businesses, health care centers, prisons, community groups and families. Marshall Rosenberg and his associates have introduced NVC in war torn areas such as Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Burundi, Bosnia and Serbia, Colombia and the Middle East, as well as in North and South America, Eastern and Western Europe, and Australia.

Foundation grants have helped launch a CNVC project to create resources for educators. We are now seeking funds to support projects in Latin America and Africa. We also have projects focused on parenting and social change.


The Center for Nonviolent Communication is a global organization whose vision is a world where everyone's needs are met peacefully. Our mission is to contribute to this vision by facilitating the creation of life-serving systems within ourselves, inter-personally, and within organizations. We do this by living and teaching the process of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), which strengthens the ability of people to compass-sionately connect with themselves and one another, share resources, and resolve conflicts.

CNVC is dedicated to fostering a compassionate response to people by honoring our universally shared needs for autonomy, celebration, integrity, interdependence, physical nurturance, play, and spiritual communion. We are committed to functioning, at every level of our organization and in all of our interactions, in harmony with the process we teach, operating by consensus, using NVC to resolve conflicts, and providing NVC training for our staff. We often work collaboratively with other organizations that are working for a peaceful, just and ecologically balanced world.

CNVC is a 501 (c)(3) organization, incorporated (since 1984) in the State of Texas. Contributions to the Center are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.


Why the World Needs NVC

Pick up a newspaper in nearly any city in the world and you are apt to see poignant stories about many forms of violence: wars, teenagers killing each other, domestic violence, child abuse, suicide or other self destructive behavior. A careful reading of the paper will likely also uncover examples of institutionalized violence resulting in an alarming and widening gap worldwide between the rich and the poor, chronic hunger and mass starvation in various regions.

While large amount of money are regularly directed toward these problems, most of the spending is aimed at ameliorating the effects rather than addressing the causes of such violence. Prison construction is booming in an attempt to keep up with increasing prison populations. Military spending continues at a high level, yet we are no safer, and we are told that even more must be spent to fight terrorists who are routinely described as deranged or inhuman monsters. According to a recent article in the L.A. Times, government programs designed to curb both youth violence and drug abuse have been costly, dismal failures.